How to get sound out of Scala in Ubuntu

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Are you using a recent version of Ubuntu (or some other Linux distribution, but for those the instructions might need to be tweaked)? Are you using Scala but the Chromatic Clavier doesn't work? Here's what you need to do:

  • Open up a terminal and run "sudo modprobe snd-virmidi". To make this happen automatically when you boot up, add "snd-virmidi" as a new line to the file "/etc/modules" (otherwise you'll need to run "modprobe snd-virmidi" every time).
  • In Scala, go to Chromatic Clavier and then go to Sound Settings. Because of the first step, there should now be some choices available for "MIDI Output Device". Pick the one with a 0 in the name (something like "/dev/snd/midiC1D0").
  • In your favorite MIDI connection manager (I use aconnectgui), the MIDI output from Scala will now be available as "Virtual Raw MIDI 1-0" or "VirMIDI 1-0". You can now connect that to a softsynth or hardware MIDI device of your choice.
  • Have fun with the Chromatic Clavier!

The reason this is necessary, I think, is that Scala uses a legacy "raw" MIDI interface from the days when everyone had MIDI synthesizers (with crappy-sounding soundfonts) on their soundcards, and programs used to access those directly. The snd-virmidi kernel module creates a "virtual" MIDI-enabled soundcard that's really just a way to get Scala's MIDI output to appear as a normal MIDI output port.